Cattle scheme ‘putting farmers on the dole’ warns Fermanagh farmer (1963)
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A word picture of the hardship and near bankruptcy was painted at a meeting of the council of the Ulster Farmers’ Union in Belfast by Mr Charles Ferguson, a delegate from Drumcose, Enniskillen.
He was severely critical of Ministry of Agriculture’s compensation scheme which allowed farmers 75 per cent of the market value of a slaughtered animal up to £120.
“This scheme at present is not a scheme – it’s an eviction order,” he declared. “It’s putting farmers on the dole.”
Mr Ferguson, who had accompanied deputations to the ministry, pointed out that in addition the hard-hit farmers could not get replacement stocks. “They were just not available,” he said.
But he made it clear farmers in Fermanagh were not against the principle of the scheme – “only the manner in which it was operated”.
UFU president Mr Arthur G Algeo gave a report on deputations to the ministry and their talks with officials.
“At the moment the union is awaiting a reply to a letter to them about a review of compensation.”
The UFU president added: “No action is being taken in the meantime.”
Meanwhile, speaking in the Ulster Senate, Senate leader Lord Glentoran claimed that 93 per cent of dairy herds in the Province were “unaffected by brucellosis”.
Lord Gentoran, who was replying to Senator O'Hare, said the Ministry of Agriculture brucellosis programme was directed mainly at the dairy herds.
“A sample of the milk of each herd is tested,” said Lord Glentoran, “and it is thereby possible to pinpoint those herds in which the infection is likely to exist.”
He continued: “The first round of milk testing of all 17,000 dairy herds has now been completed and only about seven per cent of these were positive, indicating infection in the herd.
“This means that some 93 per cent of the herds in the country have so far been completely unaffected.
“The very fact that veterinary officers go only on to farms which are infected may have caused some concern in the country, and I am glad to take this opportunity to repeat that 93 per cent of the herds in the country have so far been unaffected.”
Lord Glentoran said that the Ministry of Agriculture, with the co-operation of the farming community, was “making excellent progress in dealing with the infection in the seven per cent of herds”.
He added: “We must all have great sympathy with any farmer who has been affected by this programme. But it must be realised that the programme is only bringing him face to face with a problem of infection which in any event exists in his herd and which would, by the nature of the disease, have caused him great losses.”
Dealing with the question of compensation, Lord Glentoran said that the actual amount which a herd-owner received by way of compensation for a brucellosis reactor which had been slaughtered depended upon two factors.
He alluded: “These are the market value placed on the animal and the fact that compensation is based upon 75 per cent of that market value, or £120, whichever is the less.”
He pointed out that the Brucellosis Control Order (Northern Ireland) 1962 laid down that the market value meant the price which might reasonably have been obtained for an animal from a market if it had been free from brucellosis.
Heavy entries of cattle at Enniskillen: Entries at the weekly sales of imported and home-bred store cattle, dairy cows and dropped calves held at Enniskillen by the Ulster Farmers’ Mart Company Ltd “were heavier than usual, and with the exception of the dairy department, trade was inclined to be dull,” reported Farming Life.
Meanwhile, “in the dairy section a brisk demand was experienced for young quality animals”.
Friesian: Springing cows to £97 10s; calved to £85; springing heifers to £90; calved to £87.
Ayrshire: Springing cows to £76; calved to £65; springing heifers to £80; calved to £68.